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USDA Unveils New, Simple Tips to Stay Healthy, Active and Fit

Today was an exciting day at USDA as I was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin to unveil USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate. The icon is a departure from MyPyramid and serves as a quick, simple reminder to all consumers, built off of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for all Americans.

We all know that what we eat matters – MyPlate offers a visual reminder to make healthy food choices when you choose your next meal. MyPlate can help prioritize food choices by reminding us to make half of our plate fruits and vegetables and shows us the other important food groups for a well-balanced meal: whole grains, lean proteins, and low fat dairy. Read more »

First Person to Spot the Asian Longhorned Beetle in the U.S. Receives Recognition

APHIS recognizes Ingram Carner with a certificate of appreciation for being the first person in the United States to spot the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB).

ALB experts Joseph Gittleman of APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarrantine program and Joan Mahoney of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets recognized Carner in April. Read more »

Protecting Wheat Crops, Helping Ensure Afghan Food Security

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry (front in white) and Afghan Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi (on truck) load seed At Badam Bagh Farm in Kabul.

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry (front in white) and Afghan Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi (on truck) load seed At Badam Bagh Farm in Kabul.

In Afghanistan, wheat is not only a diet staple but is also the country’s most widely grown crop.

When an invasive fungus known as Ug99 threatened to damage and destroy Afghan wheat, the USDA joined forces with U.S. Central Command and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan to help stop it. Together in late 2010, they delivered 150 tons of USDA-donated Ug99-resistant wheat seed to Afghanistan. The seed arrived in October 2010 and entered Afghanistan’s seed multiplication program. Read more »

A 73 Year Old Kentucky Widow Becomes a First-Time Homeowner Thanks to USDA

Elizabeth Bonner’s new, energy efficient Kentucky home, funded in part by USDA Rural Development.

Elizabeth Bonner’s new, energy efficient Kentucky home, funded in part by USDA Rural Development.

To Elizabeth Bonner, the single greatest thing about her new home is the serenity she feels as she sits on her covered back porch, listening to the water as it rolls over the rocks that line the creek bed bordering the back of her property. Read more »

USDA Administrator Urges Eligible Applicants to Apply for Flex-Fuel Pump Funding

Last week USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Programs Administrator Judith Canales crossed Michigan’s Lower Peninsula at a series of events to highlight flex-fuel options and the availability of renewable energy assistance.

She addressed the Michigan Business Incubator Association’s conference “Michigan’s Changing Economy:  The Role of Business Incubation and New Venture Creation” in East Lansing.

Afterward she met with Michael Petersen, owner of Petersen Oil in Greenville, and a leader in the flexible fuel movement, and discussed how USDA Rural Development can provide funding for flex fuel pumps.  The application deadline is June 15. Read more »

As Application Deadline Approaches, Solar Workshop Energizes Participants

Design of Small Photovoltaic (PV) Solar-Powered Water Pump Systems (Photo Courtesy of NRCS)

Design of Small Photovoltaic (PV) Solar-Powered Water Pump Systems (Photo Courtesy of NRCS)

Sixty participants packed into the Cochise County Board of Supervisors Hearing Room in Arizona recently for a three-hour workshop on how to write applications for solar grants. One attendee came in for the event from Mohave County, some 400 miles away. Read more »